While never-ending rain and a strange disease spread by cockroaches ravage Taiwan, a plumber makes a hole between two apartments and the inhabitants of each form a unique connection, enacted in musical numbers.
Defying his parents, Hsiao Kang drops out of the local crammer to head for the bright lights of downtown Taipei. He falls in with Ah Tze, a pretty hood and their relationships is a confused mixture of hero-worship and rivalry that soon leads to trouble.Written by
L.H. Wong <email@example.com>
Tsai Ming-Liang doesn't make movies per se. He takes slices out of people's lives and puts them up on the screen for people to see.
This movie is an example of this style of film-making seen through the eyes of a group of teens in the city.
The meaning of the movie is open to discussion. My take is that the dark tone of this movie reflects the dark tone of its characters lives. For them Taipei is the beginning and the end. Where else have they ever seen, where else would they go? No careers, no connections, no future, no love, no hope. Nothing but work, study, drinking, failed relationships and ennui.
I don't share Tsai's bleak appraisal of the city. It is every bit as bad and grungy as he paints it (I _lived_ in the apartment with sandals floating across the floor!) but it is also much brighter, much better, and much more hopeful at the same time.
The most powerful thing about this movie is the extent to which it draws you in. I first saw this at the Seattle film festival. I was pulled in to the movie so completely I expected to smell Chinese sausages and _chou dofu_ when I left the theatre.
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